The SD Europe network is constantly growing and our activities are spreading to more of Europe and beyond. Our AGM in Huelva saw two new fan-organisation groups officially join our network.
One of our newest members is Supporterscollectief Netherlands. Supporterscollectief is a national supporters organisation that represents supporter clubs in Holland.
But who is SC Nederland? Here’s an introduction to the organisation’s history, organisational structure, goals, and an overview of the relationship between Dutch fans and local and national institutions:
When did your adventure start?
“It depends on the definition of start. It was somewhere in 2014 where we first started to get together with supporters from different clubs of both divisions, realising we were facing common challenges. We had a number of meetings in Utrecht where we laid the foundations for Supporterscollectief Nederland. The first official meeting with our members was in 2016.”
How did Supporterscollectief come into existence?
“We were brought together by the drive to improve the situation for the supporters. We noticed, within our clubs that we needed to improve how we were being treated. For example, at away games, travel restrictions and prices were frustrating and expensive. We found that these frustrations were not only within our respective clubs.
What are some of Supporterscollectief achievements?
“Our most important achievement was agreeing on a maximum ticket price for away games in the Dutch Eredivisie. Clubs charged close to 30 euros for the ticket alone, failing to take into account travel costs, and other matchday expenses. We agreed on a fixed ticket price of 15 euro and 9 euro if travel is involved. We are continuously pushing to form a similar agreement for the 2nd division. A further accomplishment of ours, is we now have input in fixture scheduling. All across global football, the big media companies dictate the scheduling agenda. Due to our work, when matches need to be moved, the KNVB, takes our input into account.
We kijken terug op een memorabel en drukbezocht supporterscongres! Zo’n 80 supporters kwamen bijeen om met beleidsbepalers te praten over onder meer vuurwerk, speeltijden en de VAR. Ons verslag lees je hier: https://t.co/5Ke2JsRUbr #SCN2019 pic.twitter.com/5moBWfrtz0 — Supporterscollectief (@SupportersNL) 2 aprile 2019
What is the current relationship like between fans, institutions and the football league?
“The relationship is generally good. Our voices are heard, we are part of the expert group working on safe and pleasurable football 2020, a program initiated by the Dutch government to increase safety in stadiums and improve the position and freedom for supporters. Currently the main debate is the use of pyrotechnics in stadiums, as the authorities have decided to not adopt our views in their newly issued policies –we want to work together with them on identifying safe ways for supporters.
Recently we have been in a lot of discussions on pyro. Authorities decided to remove our views in their newly issued policies. Supporterscollectief Nederland wants to work together with the authorities on identifying safe ways for supporters to use pyro on the stands. New strict measures try to ban and punish supporters. Closing whole sections have resulted in more use of pyrotechnics by the fans. This topic has really fired up the discussion and as a result created more distance.
Supporterscollectief Nederland managed to bring together supporters and authorities on both ends of the spectrum discussing the topic at the 3rd supporters congress. It is positive and important, that we remain on speaking terms; in the end, we all need each other. On other topics the relationship is good.“
What is your role for dutch supporters?
“We try to promote the interests of all Dutch supporters on various topics. We look to help local groups have their voices heard by the ‘decision makers’. It is not only about having a united voice, Supporterscollectief Nederland also functions as a supporters network bringing supporters together and demonstrating what we can achieve when working together.”
What kind of activities are you carrying out?
“We are in regular contact with the Dutch FA, KNVB, to work on the areas of supporters concerns. We are also trying to help supporters of teams involved in the cup finals. Being involved in the preparations have given us knowledge and expertise allowing us to help the relevant clubs.”
We gaan beginnen met het congres! Mooie opkomst in Zeist. #SCN2019 pic.twitter.com/HjeO7VzSKu — Supporterscollectief (@SupportersNL) 23 marzo 2019
Your plans and projects for the future?
“Firstly, we are aiming to gain more traction and develop as an organisation. For this, our goal is to investigate opportunities to develop an organisation that can work for supporters on a daily basis. Supporterscollectief Nederland currently is run by volunteers that have personal lives and day jobs. We are wanting to ensure we have a sustainable organisation for the future of Dutch Football.”
What about the SD Europe network appealed to you? What are your expectations from the network and what contributions do you think you can have?
“It’s the effort of bringing supporters together. Having a platform where members can exchange best practices along with SD Europe providing advice, support, and coaching. We think we all can learn a lot from each other. By being members, SD Europe gives us the platform to have our voices heard at an international level.
We believe supporters underestimate their own power, and over time can have the necessary influence to make decisions within football. In the future, we want to develop structured supporter involvement within the ownership of clubs, giving decision-making power to clubs or supporter groups. We have to help clubs ensure they stay true to their roots and supporters, and prevent them from getting sold to opportunistic investors.”
Does your league promote the development of the SLO role?
“The KNVB, with the help of SD Europe, promotes the SLO role. Unlike previous years, most clubs have a SLO. Yet the SLO execution has a lot of ground to be gained.“
What benefits does the SLO role bring you?
“The SLO role offers supporters a ‘go to’ person in times where clubs have been focusing too much on marketing, commerce, and solely making money. Supporters are looking for people within the club who understand and respect them. People that can translate their demands and wishes. Both the SLO and local supporter groups, play a key role in influencing clubs and authorities for the good of the supporters.”
What is the message you want to send to fans across Europe?
“Get involved! Most supporters organisations struggle to increase their member size. Clubs are not always eager to provide benefits to their supporters associations making it hard to grow. There is so much work to be done. Obviously, we are biased and quite involved, but we have seen first-hand impact supporters have when united behind their local fan organisation.”
What’s your message to our network?
“We are very happy to be a part of SD Europe and are looking forward to setting the next steps together. We fully support all the great work SD Europe is doing and hope to contribute and help for years to come.”
Find Supporterscollectief Netherlands https://supporterscollectiefnederland.nl/